“It’s a shame we are in this position. But this is where we are and we’re here to help people through it," said state Senator Lindsey Williams.By Royce Jones

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In Pennsylvania, over half a million workers receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through CARES funding are now waiting for those benefits, which ran out last week, to be extended.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry is currently reviewing the legislation but needs approval from the U.S. Department of Labor before payments can resume. Leaders warn this process could take several weeks.

“It’s a shame we are in this position. But this is where we are and we’re here to help people through it,” said state Senator Lindsey Williams.

In the meantime, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry is now encouraging people to use the following programs to help with essential needs. The department posted this list of resources on its website:

  • Health insurance through Pennie
  • Lifeline (telecommunications and broadband access)
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • Medicaid/Medical Assistance
  • Meals for Senior Citizens/Meals on Wheels
  • PA Food Banks and Pantries
  • SNAP Benefits

“You may not know these programs exist. You may have never heard of them before. You may have never used them before,” said Williams.

Despite these resources already facing an unprecedented demand during the coronavirus pandemic, Williams believes the programs can handle the additional need.

“Maybe you have less hours than you’re used to or you’re not waiting on unemployment but you’re struggling — don’t hesitate,” said Williams.

The state senator encourages people to apply for these programs now.

The United Way of Pennsylvania also has a 211 call center where people can see which programs are available to them. Click here for more.

More information about resource programs can be found on the PA COMPASS website here.